Ray Ferraro Breaks Down the Maple Leafs' Immediate Concerns

David Macintyre
September 10, 2023  (8:15 PM)


Ideas for the Buds This Season

It goes without saying that the 2023-24 season is make or break time for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
While getting out of the first round after years of trying was a great step last season, that progress felt wiped away after a poor performance in round two against eventual finalists, the Florida Panthers.
Now, former NHLer and present-day TV analyst Ray Ferraro has offered his two cents on what the Leafs — and specifically Auston Matthews — need to do to reach their potential this season.
"I think the thing with Matthews is, he's one of the three or four players that's thrown his name in the hat. If they go all out throughout the season like Matthews did once and Connor McDavid doesn't outperform everyone and get 150 points, there's a chance you can win a Rocket Richard, you can win a Hart Trophy, and there's only a few guys that can do it. There's Cale Makar, there's Nathan MacKinnon, there's Draisaitl. There aren't many guys that can do it.

The best years of a player's career, we know it, are in his upper 20s. And Toronto has him for those years, but it can only matter so much."

Shoring Up the Blueline

Ferraro also states the Leafs will need to improve their defensive depth if they want to go far this coming season.
«Whether Auston Matthews signed for eight years or four years for 10 million or 13 million, they're not winning the Stanley Cup with the defense as it's currently constructed. So, we can all focus on those guys, right? We'll focus on them because they're the headlining players. But that defense has to be addressed. And until it is, the team's going to be one of the best in the regular season. And we'll see what they are come playoff time. Why can't Toronto get 110 points this year? They can, for sure. Absolutely.»

It's no question the Leafs' defense corps will need to be improved at some point this season if they want to make a push in the playoffs and shake off their reputation as a regular season team. Whether they'll need to trade someone like William Nylander to make that happen is a whole other issue, but this is just one of several items on Brad Treliving's to-do list if he wants to get the absolute best out of this group.